After World War II, Germany was divided into East and West. The eastern side was under the communist control of the USSR. The western side was occupied by British, French and American forces. The capitol city of Berlin was divided in a similar fashion.
Between the years of 1949 and 1961, at least 2.7 million people fled East Germany, more half of them through West Berlin. In an attempt to stop the depletion of its labor force, East German officials ordered the building of a barrier that would one day become known as the infamous “Berlin Wall.”
As the initial barricades were going up, East Berliners were feeling powerless and resentful of West Berlin’s freedom. In an act of antagonism, they filled a garbage truck and drove it into West Berlin late one night. They dumped the trash all over the streets and then retreated back to East Berlin on foot. A few days later, the truck returned under cover of darkness. But instead of the filthy garbage that the East Berliners expected to see in it, it was full of canned goods and non-perishable food items. On the food was a sign that read “Each gives what he has to give.”
Times of great pressure and stress tend to have a polarizing effect on people. They bring out both the very best and the very worst of human nature. In the same difficult circumstance, some will focus on helping others and some will focus only on themselves. Both are responding to what is hidden deep in their character. The trial simply brings what is hidden to the surface, to where it can be seen in our words and our actions.
Jesus once said, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:34-45)
The Apostle Paul later tells us that Christians have a war going on in their hearts and minds. The Holy Spirit fights on our behalf against our sinful nature. If we submit to the Spirit and deny our sinful nature, our “tree” (our life) will bear good fruit, fruit that will last – the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5)
It was this fruit that enabled the West Berliners to send love instead of hate back across that border. It was this fruit that kept them from retaliating or escalating the conflict. It was this fruit that made them understand the hurt and the fear behind what the East Berliners did.
If you get an opportunity to swap fruit this week, remember the good fruit of the West Berliners, and do you best to bless even when you are cursed.
(S – original story from Ron Hutchcraft Ministries)